Just before my daughter-in-law, Bri, gave birth to her first baby, I went to her shower, a tradition for all the female relatives on Bri’s maternal side of the family. Even though few of the women knew me or I them, we enjoyed camaraderie in the opening and admiring of gifts—which, I assumed, was why we were there. But when the last gift had been opened and touched by every hand, no one went for coats. No one budged. You could feel the room being called to order: Let’s get down to business.
All these women—these aunts, cousins, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and sisters—zeroed in on Bri and proceeded after that to talk in a remarkable way about remarkable things. Their candor would have made any man or boy blush and flee. Marriage, sex, labor and delivery, breast-feeding—they ran the gamut. It wasn’t just an information-fest, but a celebration of life and experience: the ups and downs, the insides and outsides which are completely, utterly, absolutely unique to women.
And sista, it was beautiful. Reminiscent of women gathering in a basement to quilt, or on a back porch to shuck peas, these ladies talked like happy hens with no tomorrow—the way women have for generations—
until this one.
Our gender has always enjoyed and depended on each other, but science has now proven that our generation actually NEEDS each other to stay healthy: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. In so many words and in so many ways, we will literally die if we starve ourselves of ‘wimminfolk’.
The company of our sisters is vital to the production of the hormone oxytocin; the antidote to the killer cortisol (the stress-related hormone eating at our bodies almost non-stop because of our non-stop lifestyles). Spending a judicious amount of time gabbing with girlfriends is downright GOOD for us.
I, for one, know this is true, not only because my head and my heart agree with the science, but because surveys of Wife for Life University graduates confirm again and again that it is the community aspect of our school that has the greatest impact on our female student body.
For instance, when asked how much the community aspect of Wife for Life University (interacting with me and the other women in the program) impacts their ability to apply Wife for Life principles, 95% of students select “significantly” (over “somewhat” or “never”)!
One of those enthusiastic survey-takers added this to her answer: “Wife for Life University has been the only thing I have found that is truly changing my marriage.” Why? “The support, love, community, and learning of this program is just amazing. Having a place to learn, grow, and be validated is so exciting and wonderful.”
Another, who had not appreciated until her Wife for Life University experience just how much she needed other women, noted: “Without the continued support and contagious POSITIVE outlook from sources outside ourselves, improvement will most likely wane. The need for vital connection to other women in a healthy way just has not been part of my life, nor did I recognize that that was part of the void, nor did I have any idea how to fill it. W4LU is filling that void…it truly is helping me gain a much-needed sense of personal worth. I need more please!”
Ah yes. We ALL “need more please”: more insight, more connection, more validation, more understanding, more shared experience, more friendship, more love.
And what’s in it for our husbands? Lots. Men are not by nature, equipped to fill our bucket till it overflows day in and day out. The pressure to be perpetually passionate and to absorb all our womanly angst with aplomb wears even a nice guy to a thread. The good, supportive women you love can lighten his load, by providing a portion of the nurturing you crave; all part of your (and their) biochemical make up.
So the next time Hubby murmurs about “babysitting” so you can join a girl’s night out or a Wife for Life University class, tell him you need to replenish your oxytocin. Then—when you’ve wrung out your excess emotion and soaked up all the positive feminine energy you possibly can—reward him with the surplus!